The Anonymous Widower

Tory London Mayoral Candidate Wants Sponsorship Deals For Tube Station Names To Raise TfL Cash

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Telegraph.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Underground stations could be renamed under plans put forward by the Conservative London mayoral candidate for a £100 million a year sponsorship deal to bolster investment in the capital’s public transport network.

I think it could be an idea worth pursuing, as due to Sadiq Khan’s bribe of a fare freeze to get elected Transport for London’s finances are in a terrible state.

The article says, that Dubai, Madrid and New York already use similar ideas to raise money.

Remember, London already has one station, where name was changed for a local business; Gillespie Road station was renamed Arsenal in 1932.

Let’s Be Creative!

I also think, if we are creative, we could make the stations much more passenger-friendly, with respect to services nearby.

Imagine a board, with Alight Here For at the top and slots for local shops and businesses below. Each slotted-in advert would be a perhaps a foot wide and four inches high, saying something like. “Boots 100 metres” or “Costa Here!”

September 20, 2020 Posted by | Business, Transport | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Sadiq Khan Scraps Tube Fare Freeze In Mayoral Election Pledge To Only Freeze Bus Fares

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on ITV.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Sadiq Khan has announced that if re-elected as Mayor of London, he’ll freeze bus fares for the next four years and ensure any other TfL fare rises are lower than the rate of inflation.

When I first heard of Sadiq Khan’s fare freeze for the 2016 Mayor of London election, I considered it a blatant electoral bribe, as the finances just didn’t add up.

I’m not sure, who I will be voting for next year, but it will be a North London candidate.

Recently, there have been cuts to buses in North and Central London, but few, that I can ascertain in the South of the City. Could this be because, if a Mayor cuts buses or any other services in their area, they get incessant pestering, as they go about their business? So do Mayor’s cut, where they are not instantly recognised?

March 14, 2020 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Will Sadiq Khan Be A One-Term Mayor?

This article on the BBC is entitled Donald Trump Hits Out Again At Sadiq Khan Over London Violence.

I don’t like Trump or many of his policies one bit and if in the unlikely chance, I was invited to meet him, I would decline.

But I’ve met many people, who think we need someone like Trump to stand-up for the man on the Clapham Omnibus.

I have two personal criticisms of Sadiq.

The Unaffordable Fare Freeze

The fare freeze he proposed, that must have impressed a large number of voters, has not been something that London can afford.

Now important projects like the rebuilding of Camden Town and Holborn station have been delayed.

He’s A South London Mayor

To my mind, Sadiq seems to favour his home territory over the North.

  • In the North, we seem to have suffered more from cuts in bus frequencies.
  • He was very slow to act on the problems with the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.
  • Knife crime and violence seems to be worse in the North, so is it Mayoral neglect?

It is probably understandable, as his mates in the South have more chances to bend his ears and you don’t annoy your friends.

I wonder if Ken favoured the North!

I do think though that various effects are working against his reelection.

The ULEZ Effect

The London ULEZ currently only applies to the Congestion one, but from 2021, it will apply to all areas inside the North and South Circular Roads.

How many voters, who will be affected by the ULEZ extension, will vote for Sadiq?

The Brexit Effect

Sadiq has nailed his colours to Remain and is regularly interviewed about Brexit.

Most right-of-centre Brexiteers wouldn’t probably vote for him, but some traditional Labour boroughs voted to Leave, so could his support for Remain cost votes.

On the other hand, if Brexit has happened and going badly, will Sadiq gain votes?

The Next Prime Minister Effect

If Boris becomes Prime Minister, this would be an imponderable. It might help or hinder Sadiq’s reelection.

The Crossrail Effect

The late delivery of Crossrail, is not Sadiq’s fault, but it will have four effects.

  • The late delivery will ffect London’s transport budget and give the Mayor less money for projects.
  • Some people will view his oversight of the project as incompetent.
  • He won’t be able to bathe in the glow of a successful Crossrail.
  • It is a ready-made millstone to hang around his neck.

There will also be many Londoners, for whom, the late delivery of Crossrail caused a financial loss and they will vote accordingly.

The Trump Effect

I would expect, Trump to keep up his criticism of Sadiq.

Who’s to say, whether it will affect Sadiq’s vote, but there are quite a few people, who would support Trump.

Conclusion

There are a lot of questions to answer, but I feel given the state of British politics, that we could be in for a surprise.

Could we see a Brexit, Green or Lib Dem Mayor?

June 16, 2019 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Financial Trouble At TfL: Can It Stay Afloat?

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railway Technology.

This is the first paragraph.

London’s public transport provider, TfL, is under increasing pressure. Not only has its government operating grant been slashed but a funding freeze is also expected to cost £640m across the course of the current mayoralty. Can TfL create the commercial income needed to keep it afloat or are there serious causes for concern?

The government is cutting subsidy to TfL, but Sadiq Khan knew that when he stood for Mayor.

So what did he do? He offered a fare freeze until 2020.

It looks like more fantasy Socialist accounting to me, to ensure victory in an election.

The article also says this about the future.

Nevertheless, TfL’s hopes for the future are pinned on the completion of its upcoming Elizabeth Line project, scheduled for the end of the year. The £14.8bn project, which will create a brand new line running underground across London, is expected to be a big revenue raiser. TfL predicts that ridership will increase from the current 46 million passengers on TfL Rail, to nearly 270 million by 2022-2023.

If these predictions are wrong, TfL will be in trouble.

For myself, I suspect that Crossrail will suffer with its own version of London Overground Syndrome, with passenger numbers much higher than predicted. In The Scottish Borders Have Caught London Overground Syndrome, I talked about an outbreak in the Scottish Borders, after the opening of the Borders Railway, and said this.

This disease, which is probably a modern version of the Victorian railway mania, was first identified in East London in 2011, when it was found that the newly-refurbished East London Line and North London Line were inadequate due to high passenger satisfaction and much increased usage. It has now spread across other parts of the capital, despite various eradication programs.

But for the Mayor to rely on that, is clutching at straws.

May 15, 2018 Posted by | Finance, Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Has Sadiq Khan Got His Sums Right?

This article on the Rail Technology web site, which is entitled Underground set to undergo biggest capacity expansion ever, is a good summary of Sadiq Khan’s plans for Transport for London.

It’s All About Cash Flow

I am unsure about the plans, as it seems to me that a there is a lot of money to find in two years less to fund the building of the Bakerloo Line Extension.

So there is the double whammy of the fare freeze and accelerated construction!

Crossrail And Thameslink

I also think that Crossrail will contribute some of this money and because it is properly designed, it will stimulate growth in areas like Canary Wharf, Farringdon, Old Oak Common, Paddington, Romford and West Drayton, to name a few places.

The same however, can’t be said for Thameslink.

  • It doesn’t serve many areas ripe for development.
  • As it is not a TfL route like Crossrail, it won’t generate anything like the same fare revenue.
  • Thameslink could turn out to be too much of a long-distance commuter line.
  • Govia Thameslink Railway’s first loyalty is not to London.

On the whole, I don’t think it will benefit London as much as Crossrail will.

The Underground

Until I learn otherwise, I do think that the engineers of the Underground, may have thrown the Mayor a few lifelines.

  1. It would appear that the Victoria and Jubilee Lines can go to 36 trains per hour (tph).
  2. By raising the voltage and installing automatic train control on the sub-surface lines, there can be a 33 % increase in capacity.
  3. New Piccadilly Line trains will be ordered in 2017.

One and two, should happen easily and if the design is right, three could be a big game-changer.

But the problem, is that although these will generate cash flow in the long term, only 36 tph on the Victoria Line will happen in the near future.

I also feel, that although the capacity of the Victoria Line can easily be increased, will the stations be able to cope. Highbury and Islington, Oxford Circus and Victoria are not mentioned in the article.

All of these trains and passengers will also generate lots of heat and although Crossrail is designed to handle the watts, the deep-level Underground trains and stations were not.

This might mean a route change by passengers from older lines to Crossrail, which could have various effects.

The Non-Devolution Of Rail Lines To TfL

I have a feeling that the figures show that this is very much neutral to TfL’s finances, as some of the routes need a lot of money spent on stations and new trains. But under the new arrangement, TfL will probably have more say in service quality on the lines, than they do now.

Good Design Of The Bakerloo Line Extension

There must surely be scope to save more money in the design of the Bakerloo Line Extension. But I suspect that most of the easy savings have already been found.

However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a radical  design for the extension come out at a late stage. But this is less likely, as because the line is an extension, it must be compatible with the existing line.

The Petty Cash

I think that where the Mayor might make up the shortfall is in the smaller things, that people forget.

For example.

  • Expansion of the Night Tube to all lines, the Drain and the Overground.
  • Tactical and expanded contactless ticketing.
  • Better train scheduling.
  • Expansion of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line and the Barking Riverside Extension.
  • Expansion of the East London and Lea Valley Lines.
  • Extra stations and station entrances.
  • Development of Old Oak Common.

But some things already proposed will be tricky.

  • I don’t think that he’ll save the money he wants on staff.
  • Politicians always overestimate what they’ll earn from property development.
  • You can only build so much affordable housing.
  • Developers might find building housing just outside London is more profitable.
  • The Mayor could have Union trouble.

There are probably a lot more where these came from.

Conclusion

With Brexit and Trump, there is a possibility of a drop in passenger numbers and income, which could derail everything.

It will be a close run thing.

December 9, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is This The Most Significant Public Transport Development Of This Century So Far?

This article on Rail News is entitled Contactless export deal will help London fares freeze.

Whether the deal does keep fares down is irrelevant to me in London, as I get London’s extensive transport network for nothing! The only benefit, I’ll see is new services paid for by licencing revenue.

But how long will it be, before, when I go to say Birmingham, Berlin or Bucharest, that the only thing I will need to use public transport will be a contactless bank card?

Everything is now in place for all cities to use a similar system to London!

The only reason, it won’t get used in a city or public transport area, is that mistakenly because of NIH syndrome, politicians have gone their own route, which are incompatible with contactless bank cards and mobile devices impersonating them.

Say for instance Paris, Venice or New York didn’t allow the use of cards and devices, how would their visitor revenue drop?

I trawl the Internet extensively for reports of contactless cards used on public transport in London.

  • I have not found one adverse report on the media, although I have found a couple of travel sites recommending using a bank card as a ticket in London.
  • Remember that you get the same price as Oyster, which is less than cash, without having to use a special card.
  • Oyster use is dropping in London.
  • Carrying umpteen cards is so twentieth century.
  • How much money do people have lying dead on Oyster cards, they’ve mislasid in old jackets etc.?
  • There was a big worry from the left, that cashless and contactless ticketing would hurt the less well off. This Luddite-view has been shown to be totally wrong, with some of the highest non-Oyster use in London’s poorest boroughs.
  • There has been a reduction of attacks on staff, as the only money they carry is now their own.
  • I have been unable to find a report of someone using a stolen contactless card as a ticket.

The world will embrace London’s model and now, that Cubic has the licence, there is nothing to stop the march of contactless bank card ticketing.

Except of course stupid politicians!

July 14, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , | 2 Comments